We owe our existence to the overwhelming need for sustainability and doing our part to engineer a better world for present and future generations is a primary company focus.
We are helping make that future more exciting and efficient, while further meeting the demands this places upon us by carefully and responsibly managing our day-to-day operation. We are working towards ISO 14001:2015 to optimise our work environment and how we work.
It is easy for the world to choose sustainable powertrains if they are superior to traditional alternatives. The power density, flexibility, efficiency and controllability of our electric drives allows our customers to deliver amazing experiences through incredible products. And their achievements are leading the way – look at the VW ID.R Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and Nürburgring record holder, which dramatically demonstrated the sustainable performance advantage of electric drive over the internal combustion engine.
From design and engineering standpoints, the world-class power density and efficiency of our products means less material used in their construction and greater energy efficiency at vehicle level. Meanwhile, our patented rotor cooling system allows us to use ultrastrong magnets that are fully robust to demagnetisation, while reducing or eliminating the need for heavy rare earth elements.
Sustainability is built into our products, integral to our test process and an important consideration as we look ahead to their end of life (EOL). We conduct International Material Data System studies on all our production products, supporting the EOL requirements of our OEM customers.
In our test facility, we use either a unique dynoless process or fully recirculated power during product trials. These use a small fraction of the external power required by conventional dynamometers.
We are proud of the sustainability our products and processes engender and the opportunities they create, and further committed to creating a cleaner, more energy-efficient and sustainable tomorrow by developing and manufacturing our products in new, purpose-built facilities.
Our Shenley Technical Centre, which represents more than half of our building area, therefore exceeds the strict Local Plan Policy D4 standard enforced by Milton Keynes Council, and employs high-efficiency variable refrigerant flow heating, ventilation and cooling (VRF HVAC) systems in its offices, manufacturing and test facilities. It also uses high-specification, low U-factor composite cladding and roofing panels. Energy consumption is further reduced by our roof-mounted solar panels.
Our second largest building, at Kiln Farm, is receiving a new roof to similar standards. Our buildings were built or refurbished since 2014 and energy-saving LED lights are therefore installed throughout.
We have a number of electric vehicle charging points for staff and visitors, with cabling laid for several more. Staff are actively encouraged to use EVs, with on-site charging offered at cost and a popular EV scheme in place.
Under our Town and Country Planning Act 1990 S106 agreement, our estimated energy use is calculated and used to arrive at a CO2 offset charge paid to the Milton Keynes Council Carbon Offset Fund.
A Helix innovation, dynoless technology allows an electrical machine running without a load to transition from motor to generator many times per second, with the changeover taking around 1ms. Even at maximum output the speed can be maintained within a small window and the only external power drawn is equivalent to that lost – typically 2-3% of the shaft power. The technology was conceived as an R&D exercise during work to develop fast response motor control capability but is now used for prototype sign-off and a variety of development and validation tests.
In a traditional test cell the energy of a motor is absorbed by a dynamometer. Using fully recirculated power is a much more energy efficient process where two drives are run against one another while sharing the same DC bus. One acts as a motor, the other as a generator. In this case, only power equivalent to that lost must be supplied to the bus.